Tuesday, June 3, 2014


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Exploring Cappadocia, the terrain is of uncertain character. Centuries of wind and rain have left behind interesting formations. The soft volcanic rock is fertile. Remaining solids form interesting shapes. Over many generations, people carved cave homes out of the rocks. Double click the pictures to really get the effect.
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Early Christians sheltered here and carved over 600 churches into the cliffs, some dating to the 3rd century AD. You enter the Goreme Open Air Museum, now a dedicated UNESCO site.  (World Heritage Protected Site.)
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The first thing we see looking across the  canyon is man-made carvings in the cliffs. They are dovecotes.
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Soon we spot the churches built into the mountain of rock. The protected churches with nearly whole frescoes are off-limits to photography.  The whole site is protected, but churches and dwellings without frescoes of important Christian Biblical figures are open to the camera.
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This room is quite large and a cross on a pillar suggests it was once a place of worship.
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Some caves are narrow warrens where priests may have lived. The cave dwellings are naturally warm in winter and cool in summer.
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A church reachable by metal stairs.DSC06323 (Copy)

Fresco designs on the outside of this church.
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We climbed all over the area and visited cave dwellings that are convertible to livable places.DSC06310 (Copy)

The color may look like paint but is reflected light from a neighboring room.
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Frescoe patterns, but no important figures from the bible.DSC06342 (Copy)

The bus dropped us at a local farmer's market where few tourists are found. Outside the market men were interested in buying live chickens and making offers.
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A mobile bagel vendor.
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I asked these "mommas" if I could take their picture. I indicated I liked their beautiful scarves. You can see the hand work on the edges, something the Moslem women like to do. It is like a signature. Then I got the ritual hugs and air kisses both sides. People are so friendly and happy to share.
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The vendor from whom Owen bought his two "real" knives, who sharpened them and showed that they could cut a piece of paper. Owen loved it and I worried it would cut right through his soft sided suitcase. He checked all over the market and came back to this vendor and bought on his third visit. He is a careful shopper.
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Apricots are plentiful and tasty. The vendor brought us a black apricot with a walnut inside. Yum. Of course I bought a pound of them.
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Market day is somewhat like a holiday; the family visits and gossips with neighbors while business of trading and selling takes place. I don't know if I mentioned in a previous blog that all food is organic. Anyone caught spraying loses his license to sell and trade-for life! A strong deterrent. I love it.
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Wonderful home made cheeses.
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Freshly made butter and feta cheese.
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Gobs of fresh strawberries  and bananas  in season.
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This vendor has six types of olives, (four are visible). And notice he has "tasting olives" on a can to tempt buyers. In front are honey combs wrapped in plastic.
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The market was extensive, beautiful and a great place for people watching. We left reluctantly for our lunch.
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Since we spent time in caves, it seemed appropriate to have lunch in a cave. It was not a restaurant familiar to Usla. It was suggested by the bus driver. "Should we try it?" he asked. We did.
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Their specialty is a clay pot entree of beef, pork or chicken with vegetables and broth. You are given a rod to break open the pots and the food poured out onto your plate to be eaten with rice. It was fun. Maria had a hard time cracking her pot open.
The food was not that tasty, and Usla said, "Americans always tell it like it is. I like that." He won't take another group to this restaurant. Even so, it was a fun lunch.

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